Fitton Center seeks supporters for nLIVEn! series

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts has introduced a new entertainment series that gives music fans the opportunity to get involved in bringing new and different kinds of acts to the area.

They’re calling the series “nLIVEn!”

Currently, the Fitton Center is looking for help to bring The Ballroom Thieves to town, and Joshua Asbury and Michele Simmons have agreed to match any donation to the cause made through, up to $500, through this Labor Day weekend.

Billed as “a rock band in a folk suit,” The Ballroom Thieves hail from from Boston, Massachusetts. You can find out all about them on their website,

“Your support will help pay for items such as the performer, sound, lighting–and that friendly tech crew of ours–and food and drink,” said Fitton Center spokesperson Pam Gruber. “And the best part is, by donating you also receive a designated number of tickets to the show. Check out the giving levels to see what perks you will receive.

“As your community arts center, the Fitton Center is here to provide unique arts experiences and to ‘build community excellence through the arts and culture’ and we can’t wait to offer this new experience to you,” Gruber said.

This fundraising effort will be active through Monday, September 1, 2014. You will receive a confirmation email with further instructions regarding your tickets and perks shortly after that date.

Info: 513-863-8873

Indoor drinks stube added to Hamilton’s Oktoberfest

Oktoberfestlogo2014Labor Day often signals the close of summer activities in Butler County, and with that comes the annual Oktoberfest at Liberty Home German Society.

The annual German celebration, now in its 49th year, draws large crowds with its lure of sauerkraut, potato cakes and crème puffs. It includes rides and games and is an atmosphere for families.

Other food at the festival includes mettwurst, brautwurst, cabbage rolls, Limburger cheese and much more. Adult beverages include German and domestic beers.

A slew of live entertainment is scheduled throughout the weekend. Find a full schedule here.

Liberty Trustee Corey Wagonfield, who serves as communications coordinator, says new this year is an indoor beer and wine stube with live entertainment.

The festival will also have “double the food lines for quicker service,” Wagonfield said.

Credit cards are now accepted at Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest takes place from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29; 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30 and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31. Admission is $3 per person, and children younger than 14 years old get in free.

For more information call (513) 571-6198.

Criminal Justice Week events planned at Miami Hamilton  

The Department of Justice and Community Studies, College of Professional Studies & Applied Sciences is sponsoring a number of events focusing on the problem of contemporary human trafficking and slavery.

  •   Sept. 15, Film Screening: The Whistleblower, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. in the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center.  This ripped-from-the-headlines thriller is based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska police officer who takes a job working as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. Her expectations of helping to rebuild a devastated country are dashed when she uncovers a dangerous reality of corruption, cover-up and intrigue amid a world of private contractors and multinational diplomatic doubletalk.
  •   Sept. 15, Joyce Hulse Manko Memorial Lecture, 7 p.m. in the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center. Keynote speaker and author of The Whistleblower, Kathryn Bolkovac will discuss sex trafficking, military contractors, and her fight for justice. A reception and book signing will follow the lecture. Funding for this event is provided by the Joyce Hulse Manko Memorial Lecture in Government endowment.
  •   “The Department of Justice and Community Studies is excited to bring Bolkovac to Miami University Hamilton,” said Daniel Hall, Chair of the Department of Justice and Community Studies. “Her story is compelling, raising important questions about ethics, human rights, and political corruption.”
  •   Sept. 16, Film Screening: The Whistleblower, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center.
  •   Sept. 16, The Fight Against Slavery: Lessons From History, 7 p.m., Miami Hamilton Downtown Center. Kelli Johnson, Professor of English at Miami University Hamilton will explore nineteenth-century abolitionism and its relevance in the fight to eliminate slavery and human trafficking in the twenty-first century.
  •   Sept. 17, Constitution Day Celebration, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., a public reading of the Constitution and discussion on free speech. Then from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Write for Rights invites university and community members to raise their voices by writing letters in support of activists imprisoned around the world for exercising free speech. Both events will meet in front of Democracy Wall outside Rentschler Hall.
  •   Sept. 18, Panel Discussion: Human Trafficking, 7 p.m. in the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center. State and local leaders discuss human trafficking in local contexts.

Throughout the month of September, Miami Hamilton Downtown Center will present a special exhibit featuring the stories of people who have experienced human trafficking and contemporary slavery titled “If I got a chance to talk to the world:” Stories of Modern-Day Slavery.”

These events are also supported by Miami University’s Departments of Justice and Community Studies, Black World Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, Women’s Gender and Sexual Studies, Rentschler Library, Miami Middletown’s Applied Research Center, Multicultural Services, Miami Regional Locations Student Affairs, Miami Hamilton’s Center for Civic Engagement, Colligan History Project and Miami International Justice Mission.

These events are free and open to the public. For more information on these events, call 513.785.7702 or email Miami University Hamilton is located at 1601 University Blvd.

Things that used to get in the paper #1: Showdown on the Wardlow Farm

On its society page of February 25, 1903, after giving the highlights of the teenage dance in the village of Kyle and reports the snow drifting across the north-south roads so badly that they were impassable, the Hamilton Evening Democrat reported on this incident at the Wardlow farm:

The Hamilton (Ohio) Evening Democrat, February 25, 1903
The Hamilton (Ohio) Evening Democrat, February 25, 1903

One of our young and enterprising farmers had quite an experience with a small and mysterious animal the other morning about daylight. Mr. Wardlow, on going out to attend to some stock quite a distance from the house, saw a small moving object in the path ahead of him, coming in his direction. He cried “Shoo!” and “Get out!” but it was neither a sheep nor a dog, and didn’t understand but kept right on coming toward him. It had its banner raised high in the air, as though to defy the world, so Mr. Wardlow retreated and fortified himself behind a pile of rocks, and when the animal came within shooting distance commenced a bombardment of rocks, but he was a poor shot and the animal came forward until it was near enough to begin its own defense, and it wasn’t long until he had its enemy on the run. It was then Mr. Wardlow found the beast was a skunk, better known as a polecat. Mr. Wardlow’s hired hand says he was a half day hauling the rocks off the meadow, where Mr. Wardlow had his battle and was defeated, for he left the polecat in possession of the whole domain.

Now we know this fellow as Lorel Wardlow, the beleaguered husband who in 1917 was poisoned in a conspiracy between his wife and his farm hand, the subject of A Two-Dollar Terror #2, “The Arsenic Affair: The True Crime of Belle Wardlow and Harry Cowdry.

The Arsenic Affair A Two-Dollar Terror #2
A Two-Dollar Terror #2


Local artists lead the way in Fitton Center 2014-15 exhibitions

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts’ 2014-15 Seasonal Brochure features its upcoming exhibition series.

  • Fiber: Four innovative artists weave, print, dye and stitch their way to strong colors and essential textures.

October 18 to December 5.  RECEPTION: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. November 8, prior to a performance by The Floorwalkers

“Citrus” by Dorothy McGuinness

The evolution of Everett, Washington’s Dorothy McGuinness’ painted paper woven forms is built on taking risks, avoiding the “known” in the world of basketry.

Colorful and lavishly textured, Christine Sauer’s stitched and beaded dimensional works are an imaginative response to a love of the complexity found in nature and to the celebratory energy of her city, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Taking the leap into experiments with vibrant pattern, Anchorage Alaska’s Maria Shell’s newest Color Grid art quilts dance boldly on the wall.

In wall works ranging from intimate to large in scale, Jonpaul Smith of Cincinnati disassembles hand-printed and found papers, then weaves them into brilliant intricate constructions.

  • Home: In painting, installation art, woven sculpture and drawing, four artists explore dwellings, the bones of regional culture and what we value as a society.

January 10 to February 20. RECEPTION: 5 to 7 p.m. January 10.

Matthew Littekin

In a painted and sculptural installation, Hamilton’s own Matthew L. Litteken provides an ironic sense of the sublime as related to the dry motif of U.S. currency, while raising issues of artistry, value and pictorial worth.

Expanding Appalachian ribbed basket techniques, Oxford’s Elizabeth Runyon’s woven forms include a suspended community of dwellings that seem to wait for residents to return.

Working from imagination and a close connection between mark and thought, Christopher Troutman of Beaumont, Texas, creates large-scale charcoal drawings based on memories of homes in the U. S. and Japan. In her large elegant ink and wash drawings, Detroit’s Margi Weir depicts the remains of buildings that were once signifiers of culture.

  • 47th Greater Hamilton Art Exhibition: Local talent, experienced judges and stiff competition promise an exciting display of multi-media art and fine craft by artists living within 50 miles of Hamilton.

    March 28 to May 15. Opening reception, 5 to 7 p.m. March 28.

  • Edge: Through painting, photography, sculpture and dimensional silk, works by four artists reveal the advantage of adaptation and realms on the brink of danger.

June 13 to July 31. RECEPTION: 5 to 7 p.m. June 13.

Paula Baumann

Hamilton’s Paula Baumann’s intricate hand-dyed dimensional silk forms translate an appreciation for the subtlety and fragility of nature.

Sculptures by Nathaniel A. Foley, also of Hamilton,  hint at both majestic and destructive qualities of the machinery of flight.

Slaton, Texas, artist Robin Dru Germany’s large mesmerizing photographic prints reveal life on either side of the line between water and land.

The large botanical watercolor paintings Michelle Podgorski of Charlotte, North Carolina, focus on the constant cycles and adaptations that occur in nature despite human interference and sometimes because of it.

The Fitton Center galleries are a great place to socialize, since there is always something new on view in an informal, familyfriendly atmosphere. In addition to the Fitton Center’s Anne Ruder Bever Gallery shows listed here, be sure to visit the first floor student gallery, where budding artists of all ages display their works.

To learn how to propose an exhibition or be placed on the juried competition mailing list, contact the Director of Exhibitions at 513-863-8873 ext. 122.

Historical photos, 1935

I stumbled upon these photos from Hamilton in the Library of Congress collection of images. They were taken in 1935 by the Farm Security Administration.


The photographer, Carl Mydans, didn’t get our best side, I think, but they are an interesting glimpse into our city.

According to the FSA: “The photographs in the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. This U.S. government photography project was headed for most of its existence by Roy E. Stryker, who guided the effort in a succession of government agencies: the Resettlement Administration (1935-1937), the Farm Security Administration (1937-1942), and the Office of War Information (1942-1944). The collection also includes photographs acquired from other governmental and non-governmental sources, including the News Bureau at the Offices of Emergency Management (OEM), various branches of the military, and industrial corporations.

“In total, the black-and-white portion of the collection consists of about 175,000 black-and-white film negatives, encompassing both negatives that were printed for FSA-OWI use and those that were not printed at the time. To view the unprinted negatives, go to the description for any FSA/OWI image and select the “Browse neighboring items by call number” link. Most unprinted negatives simply have “Untitled” as their caption. Some have titles based on similar images that appear to have related content. Color transparencies also made by the FSA/OWI are available in a separate section of the catalog: FSA/OWI Color Photographs [view description].

“For a video overview of the collection, see Documenting America, 1935-1943: The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Photo Collection.”

You can CLICK HERE to see all of the photos of Hamilton in the Library of Congress collection of digitized images, including some pictures of machinery made in Hamilton.

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Local theater group adds new show to lineup

The Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre has added “A Christmas Carol” to its 2014-15 season.

The GHCT owns The Creative Center at the Palace on South Third Street and produces four shows per year. “A Christmas Carol” will be directed by Patricia Ganz.

The GHCT will announce audition dates soon. Other shows for this season include the musical “Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers” in October, “Sordid Lives” in February 2015 and “The Miracle Worker” at the end of April and beginning of May.

A few fundraisers will be conducted throughout the next year, including “Draggin’ Out” in November and “Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre” in April 2015. GHCT representatives said the group will have a booth at this year’s Operation Pumpkin festival in downtown Hamilton.

Miami Hamilton to host Health Information Technology Series

The rapidly growing field of Health Information Technology will be the topic of a series of talks to be hosted by Miami University’s Regional locations. The series will begin on Aug. 26, with additional talks scheduled through November.  All talks will be held in Room 312 Mosler Hall at Miami Hamilton, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The series begins on August 26 with a presentation on Meeting User Needs – Addressing the Generational Divide from Carolyn Young of the Kettering Health Network.

The series will continue with A Physician’s Perspective on Health Information Technology with Dr. Kami Park, Leadership Challenges in a Changing Landscape from Dr. Yousef Ahmad of Mercy Health, Best Practices in Protecting Health Information in an Interconnected World with Chris Boue of BHS, Corporate Culture with Jim Larson of MedPractice Solutions and Better Data, Better Care from J.D. Whitlock of Mercy Health.

“We developed this series for our students, but were so pleased with the caliber of the speakers that we decided to share with the community” said Miami Computer and Information Technology Lecturer Donna Evans. “Anyone interested in the field is welcome to join us.”

Space is limited for this free event.   Go to the speaker’s series website for more information on the series or to make a reservation.

Miami Hamilton is located at 1601 University Blvd.

Colligan History Project sets fall events

The Michael J. Colligan History Project will continue its public history series in Hamilton, focusing on “Hard Road to Liberty: Ohio and the Civil War.”

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
  •  Sept. 16, The Fight Against Slavery: Lessons From History, 7 p.m., Miami Hamilton Downtown Center. Kelli Johnson, Professor of English at Miami University Hamilton, will explore nineteenth-century abolitionism and its relevance in the fight to eliminate slavery and human trafficking in the twenty-first century.
  • Oct. 7, Memorializing John Hunt Morgan and the 1863 Ohio-Indiana Raid, 7:30 p.m., Harry T. Wilks Conference Center.  A panel discussion moderated by Matthew Smith, Miami’s Department of History. Panelists are: Jim Blount, Hamilton Historian; Lester Horwitz and David L. Mowery, Independent Scholars and Dr. Michael Pratt, Dean of Miami University’s College of Professional Studies & Applied Sciences.
  • Oct. 29, John E. Dolibois History Prize Lecture, 7:30 p.m., Parrish Auditorium. Featured speaker James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of History, Emeritus from Princeton University. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom. McPherson will discuss Ohioans on slavery and emancipation in the Civil War.
  • Nov. 13, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, 7:30 p.m., Parrish Auditorium. The Emmy nominated signature sound of this acoustic duo has been featured on radio, television and film, including Ken Burns’ PBS documentary “The Civil War,” “A Prairie Home Companion” and the films “Legends of the Fall” and “Brother’s Keeper.” This program is co-sponsored with the Miami Regionals Artist Series. Tickets are free but required. To reserve tickets, call (513) 785-3277.

The Michael J. Colligan History Project is a joint undertaking of the Colligan Fund Committee of the Hamilton Community Foundation and Miami University Hamilton. For more information call (513) 785-3277 or visit  Miami University Hamilton is located at 1601 University Blvd.

[We might also note that at the Sept. 16 event, the Colligan Project will be giving a special award to yours truly for the work I did covering the Great Flood of 1913 Centennial.– roj]